As the burgeoning teachers strike closed schoolhouse doors across the Windy City Monday, parents of 350,000 students scrambled to secure daycare or make other arrangements while their children’s education is delayed. No one knows how long the strike will last, or what the lasting impact will be on Chicago school kids.
Yesterday, KING 5’s Up Front show with Robert Mak had a report about what parents in Washington could do if voters pass Initiative 1240, the charter school measure.
Parents at Oregon's Sauvie Island school, 20 miles north of Portland, were worried. Student enrollment had fallen to 80 students. So in 2010 they asked their district if they could convert Sauvie Island school to a charter school. The district approved their application in January 2011 and Sauvie Island Academy opened as a charter school in September of 2011.
I received a call from Jerry Cornfield, reporter and political columnist at The Everett Herald, with a research request about Initiative 1240, the ballot measure to allow charter schools in Washington. He asked a good question: “How does Initiative 1240 compare with the model for high-quality charter schools developed by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools?”
Seattle Times reporter Brian M. Rosenthal doesn't seem to like charter schools, and it shows. In his August 29th article he says charter school opponents "...expect voters to be wary of siphoning off money for charters..." He repeats this tired fabrication without explaining that charter schools are public schools, so they don't "siphon off money."
In re-reading the text of Initiative 1240, the ballot measure to allow charter schools, it occurred to me that, if it passes, the state PTA might be prohibited from participating in the state charter school authorizing process. Here’s why.
As we in Washington state debate the wisdom of charter schools, the National PTA just re-affirmed its support for charters, reports Education Week. Specifically, the National PTA expanded its recommendation to include charter school applications that are approved by state authorizing commissions.
The official Voters’ Guide Pro and Con statements on Initiative 1240 just came out. I-1240 seeks to lift the state ban on charter schools. I was surprised to read in the Con statement the claim that, “Research conducted by Stanford University and others shows that, overall, charter schools do not perform better than public schools...”
On August 10th, the board of the Washington state PTA voted 11 to 6 to reverse the decision of 262 voting PTA delegates and not support charter schools as proposed in Initiative 1240, a measure that will appear on the ballot in November.
Initiative 1240 would lift the state ban on charter schools, independent public schools that are tuition-free and open to all students.
Today The Seattle Times reports the Governor’s budget forecast for next year, which shows a $1.5 billion revenue increase, also shows there’s not enough money to “meet K-12 spending mandated by the state Supreme Court.” This characterization of what the Court ruled is wrong.
This morning a new Task Force on Education Funding convened at Highline Community College in Washington state. Their job is to find $1.6 billion of cuts from state government to spend instead on all-day kindergarten for all, reduced class sizes in K-3, and other new education spending programs. Four state senators, four representatives and three appointees of the Governor, including the president of the state teacher’s union, are serving on the Task Force.
Yesterday, Peter Callaghan of The News Tribune reported that federal intervention in the education of Washington students has pushed state lawmakers and top education officials to pass “more reform.” Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says the intervention of the federal government has been “phenomenal” and “I take my hat off to them.”
Last week, I wrote that on July 6, the federal government told Washington State to rewrite its teacher evaluation bill, SB 5895, as a condition of extending a one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind rules.
This afternoon the Secretary of State announced that Initiative 1240 has qualified for the November ballot. Supporters submitted a sufficient number of signatures, 357,000, to meet statutory requirements. This was done in a remarkably short period of time, 21 days, financed by charitable individuals, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
On July 6, 2012, the federal Department of Education wrote Superintendent Randy Dorn granting Washington state a one-year waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements, renewable only if Washington amends the teacher evaluation bill passed last session, SB 5895. They have a lot of nerve.